Reminding Myself How Being Smooth Really Isn’t All That Important

Recently, I fooled around with a new friend of mine. You know what I didn’t do, either before or during? I didn’t say anything that anyone would think of as “smooth”.

What I did say, after indulging in some nervousness about the fact that I had no idea how to proposition someone in a way that any reasonable person might describe as “smooth”, was something along the lines of this:

“So, for the record, I’m not actually very good at telling when people want me to make moves on them. But I would if you wanted me to, and I wouldn’t if you didn’t.”

Awkward, right? And yet, I would have to say things worked out in a way I thoroughly enjoyed.

Today, I have been thinking, yet again, about why I worry about not being things that I have never needed to be (e.g. “smooth”) in order to have awesome sexual experiences with people.

I’ve decided it might be useful for me (and hopefully for others) to review just how often I have been incredibly un-smooth and have ended up kissing people anyway. There are certain common threads in the language I tend to use to ask people if they are interested in kissing or having sex, and one of those common threads is that the language is never, ever “smooth”. It is generally varying degrees of awkward. Yet, my tragic lack of suave-ness has not, as one might think, and as I sometimes still worry about for reasons passing understanding, crippled my sex life. So, for your and my perusal, here is my awkwardness, and some conversations from some of the times it has not mattered in the slightest:

“Question for you.”


“Would it be okay if I kissed you?”

“Yeah, definitely.”

“I know you talked about just having recently gotten out of a serious relationship, and not really looking for anything new right now. I just… I keep thinking about kissing you, and you totally don’t have to do anything with that, but if you were interested in it, I would.”

“Oh. Okay.”

“Does that… um…”

“I think I would like that.”

“So, I’m not sure if you’re asking me something, or just joking around, but, for the record, if you are asking me something, then pending further conversation about preferences and boundaries and stuff, I’m probably interested.”

“Let me see if my room is occupied right now.”

“So, I don’t know what your particular boundaries are or what you’re comfortable with, but, if you were interested, I think I would be comfortable having sex.”

“I am interested, but I would have to make sure Boyfriend was okay with it.”

“Okay, well, let me know when you get a chance to ask him.”

“Oh, I’ll just text him.”

“I have a question.”


“Um, no pressure, I’m definitely up for watching a movie, but, if you were interested, I think I would really like to… be sexual… with you*.”

“Oh. Yeah, okay. Let me just shower first.”

(Context: this is in a group situation where a lot of spontaneous making out is happening) “Just for the record, [Person I Do Not Have Previously Established Consent for Make-Outs With], I’m not not kissing you because I don’t want to. I just don’t want to violate your boundaries if you’re not interested.”

*she kisses me*

What you should take from this, Dear Reader, and what I’m trying to remember to take from it, myself, is that none of these people gave a flying fuck that I didn’t Just Make a Move or have some Incredibly Smooth (TM) way of propositioning them for kisses or sex. I have absolutely also had conversations where I asked if people were interested in making out or having sex and they said no, but I have never had one of those conversations and felt like the fact that I asked in an awkward-feeling way (which is almost always the case) was the thing that made them say no. Generally, my impression has been that people said yes or no based on (shocking though it may seem) whether or not they were already interested.

The take-away from this is that, while there may be people who want to be propositioned in a particular way or else they aren’t interested (many people, including my subconscious, sometimes, seem to think this is true, anyway), there are plenty of people in the world who really don’t give a fuck, and the time you spend worrying about being smooth is, if they are interested in you, time you could probably be spending in bed with them.

So stop worrying so much, Me and Also Probably Other People.

* Most Awkward Phrasing Award? I cringe when I look at this.

Note: An awesome commenter just added their own awkward proposition anecdote in the comments. If anyone else felt like contributing to the list, I would love to have a collection of awkward proposition stories in the comments.


10 comments on “Reminding Myself How Being Smooth Really Isn’t All That Important

  1. Um, I think the idea of smooth, if it is about assuming the other person is interested, is pretty rape-culture-y. Also, I feel like your directness is what’s NEEDED in sexual situations. So, props for actually asking! That’s what everyone should do.

  2. I’ve got to say, you may not think them smooth, but any one of those would work on me. Being asked if I want to is sexy.

    Well, not so much with the kissing, as my teeth are i such awful shape right now that I’m avoiding putting their sharp, torn edges near anyone else’s soft bits, but for the general kind of pleasant fumbling practices that I believe you’re talking about.

    Anecdata being worth what it is, take it for what you will, but I would not register these as unsmooth. I think Mal would approve their smoothness. Mal likes things to be smooth.

    • Thanks for saying so 🙂

      And I actually agree. I find being asked permission to the incredibly sexy, myself. With respect to being smooth or not, I guess it sort of depends on your definition of smooth. I think the impression of the idea of smooth that I grew up with involves being pretty sure or acting like you’re pretty sure that you know the person is interested. That pretty much never being the case for me, I think my instinct is to categorically rule myself out of the smooth category. But maybe I’m wrong 🙂

  3. The first time I fooled around with my now-fiancee, she was at a party at my house, and she had been talking to some other guy for a while. I briefly tried to think of some ~smooth~ way to get her alone, but then just tapped her on the shoulder, and asked if she’d like to go upstairs and make out. “Sure!” she replied. And the rest is history.

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